Monday, June 26, 2017

Don't Let Bugs Bug YOU

Hate those pesky summer bugs? Don't let them bug YOU.  

I use a Natural Insect Repellent. I keep it with me almost all the time. 
But Essential Oils are also a great approach to keeping creepy crawlers off of us. And, they do smell so very nice! 

If you want to add essential oils to your anti-bug strategy, here's what to do!

Grab a lint roller and the essential oils listed below. 
The lint roller should be the kind with adhesive layers. Take it with you when you go outside.  Roll it on your clothing every once in a while. You will be surprised to see what you pick up in very short amounts of time. 
You can spray essential oils on your clothing and rub it into your skin to help to keep away the ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies while you are outside.  
Here are 5 essential oils that repel bugs.
1. Lavender – This smells sweet to us but bugs absolutely hate it. It works on mosquitoes, flies and other insects.  
2. Melaleuca Oil - A classic defense against bugs! 
3. Eucalyptus – According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, Eucalyptus extract can reduce tick bites and infections. 
4. Lemon – This essential oil can work against fleas and other bugs. Dilute it slightly and spray it on your clothing and skin.  
5.  Lemongrass – This essential oil comes from tropical lemongrass and has a citrusy sent. It is a natural flea and tick repellent and can be sprayed directly on the skin.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kids and Vertical Surface Work -- It's A Good Thing!

When I was in elementary school I loved being called up to do work on the board. I volunteered to erase the board, wash the board, and clap the erasers clean on the outside bricks of the school building.
When we visited and Aunt Ethel and Uncle Burt I couldn't wait . . . . . . they had a smooth, slate blackboard that I was allowed to write on if I was vey polite and behaved myself.  Believe you me, I was very polite and behaved myself.  It was such a treat!
 And painting on an easel? That was a much anticipated art activity! 
Little did I consider the developmental benefits of writing, painting, and working on a vertical surface. But as a therapist recently shared with me, there are many benefits for children when they work on vertical surfaces!  Here are eight of those benefits.

1) Shoulder/Elbow Stability

The use of larger vertical surfaces such as chalkboards, marker boards, and Smart boards allows children to use bigger arm movements that encourage strength and flexibility throughout the joints and muscles of the upper extremities.  Even the hand gets a hefty boost of strengthening as it works against gravity to keep making vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.

2) Bilateral Coordination

Have you ever tried to use a stencil while working on a vertical surface?  I used a stencil to create a border on my kitchen wall. — there was a bit of a learning curve and it was not easy!  This is a tough skill!  For kids, tracing an object, using a stencil, or even just stabilizing their paper to write on an upright surface requires the use of both hands (one to trace, one to hold) AND it requires proprioception and strength to hold the object that is being traced!

3) Midline Crossing

When a child is writing or drawing across a large vertical surface, he has to cross the midline of his body with his dominant hand to reach all of the spaces.  Play on vertical surface surface gets both hands working together which promotes bilateral integration. 

4) Wrist Extension/Pencil Grasp

Vertical surface writing naturally puts the wrist in an extended position which encourages hand stabilization for better pencil grasp and control of writing utensils.

5) Visual Attention and Hand-Eye Coordination

Working on a vertical surface brings the task closer to the child’s eyes.  This helps children who have difficulty maintaining visual attention to activities and can help to encourage hand-eye coordination, as the child has a better view of what they are doing!

6) Spatial Awareness

When a child works on a large vertical surface, it makes directional terms (up, down, left, right) much easier to understand because the child can relate the words to his very own body.

7) Sensory

Working at a vertical surface may be beneficial for kids who prefer activity over sitting (no matter how engaging the activity).  This is easy to relate to because we all work better if we can change positions.

8) Core Strength and Posture

Working in a kneeling or standing position at an upright surface provides a healthy dose of core strengthening. There’s no slumping or leaning on the back of the chair – the only choice is to engage those core and back muscles to maintain upright posture. Good head and neck position during play promotes visual skill development such as scanning and tracking.  
There are many ways to play and work using a vertical surface. Here are some of my
-Paint w/ paintbrushes or paint rollers
-Decorate a window w/ window clings
-Play w/ magnets on the refrigerator
-Paint w/ shaving cream or finger paint on an easel or table turned on its side.
-Play w/ felt shapes and pictures on a felt board
-Draw & color w/ chalk on a chalkboard . . . . & then erase!
-Wash windows & using a squigee
-Help wash the car
-Make your own DIY Removable Lego Wall.  Building w/ Legos on a vertical surface is a whole new world. Not only fun, but also great for all of the skills listed above!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Let's Stop Poisoning Our Children

How safe is your home?
Of chemicals commonly used in homes 150 have been linked to, allergies, birth defects and cancer.
Cleaning products (which people usually think of first) are not the only problem - after analyzing 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products 884 were found to be toxic. That is 1 in 3!

According to Philip Landrigan M. D. of Mount Sinai Medical Center, the most pressing health issues for children today are:

1. the rise of asthma
2. the rise in childhood cancers
3. the rise in central nervous system disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, and other learning disorders as the result of environmental neurotoxins
4. the effects of endocrine disruptors*

All these are related to toxic chemical exposure in the home.  Let's Stop Poisoning our Children!

Fortunately, for every almost every toxic product there is a safe alternative available. There are a number of ethical conscientious companies now offering household and personal care products that are safe and more natural. They work just as well or better than of the shelf brands, and in many cases actually cost less. So, there's really no reason to risk the health of your children or yourself any longer.

As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children yet we all use hundreds of chemicals everyday, supposedly to keep our homes clean and safe.  These same products are destroying our health and more importantly the health of our children. As I talk to more and more concerned parents I learn that most people still use chemicals which would be banned or aggressively controlled in the work place.

Let's stop poisoning our children. The first step can be as simple as requesting a Free Home Safety Consultation today from one of the Moms or Dads with EveVenture.
Sometimes a solution is as quick and easy as learning where to shop for safer products.

  1. Philip Landrigan M. D. of Mount Sinai Medical Center
  2. Children's Environmental Health Center 
  3. Graphic Source:

Monday, January 2, 2017

Make-up Products Can Hurt You

The popularity of makeup products today seems to be greater than ever before in human history. Business Wire states that the global cosmetics market reached a staggering $460 billion in 2014 alone. Experts anticipate that the global market for beauty products will continue to rise at an annual rate of 3.8% in the next five years. 
We’re all witnesses to just how big the beauty industry is. Just thinking about the huge number of beauty products we see today can be overwhelming. Beauty is taking over even social media sites like YouTube that had a total of 123,164,115 beauty subscribers in 2015. These numbers speak for themselves, and what they’re telling us is that we are becoming a society of makeup junkies. 
Humans have used makeup for at least 5000 years for the purpose of enhancing features that are thought of as attractive and hiding perceived flaws such as the first signs and symptoms of wrinkles. And although there is nothing wrong with wanting to beautify yourself occasionally, makeup becomes a problem when it creates psychological dependence.
study carried out by The Renfrew Center Foundation found that almost half (44%) of all
women said that they felt unattractive without makeup. But the problem with relying on makeup to build your self esteem does not end there. More and more medical practitioners, scientists, and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with how makeup affects our physical health.
The Dangers Of Makeup Products

Most makeup products, from foundations to setting powders, contain a great number of chemicals, some of which may even be dangerous to your health. The way certain chemicals in makeup interact with our skin can lead to skin dryness, flaking, and even allergic reactions. 
But what is concerning is the fact that these chemicals have the ability to penetrate the deeper layers of our skin and enter our bloodstream. If these chemicals happen to be toxic, then chronic exposure to them presents a significant health risk.
Makeup has been a realistic danger for quite some time now. A study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science found that the bones of Japanese children from the Edo period (1603 -1867) contained levels of toxic metals a dozen times higher than the safety threshold. 
The researchers said that the cause was the use of white facial powder by breastfeeding women that contained dangerous levels of lead and mercury. Another study from 1991 collected samples of kohl eye makeup from third-world countries found that many samples had dangerous levels of lead as well. 
But things don’t seem to be much different these days. A recent study released by Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) for their project The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that almost half of all kids’ Halloween makeup products tested contained banned and harmful chemicals. 

Some of The Harmful Chemicals Found By The BCF Study


A soft, bluish-white metal that studies have linked to kidney failure, bone disease, and even cancer. Researchers believe that cadmium becomes toxic at levels well below limits set forth by the World Health Organization. 
The FDA conducted a test of heavy metals found in popular cosmetics (see here). Cadmium was found in several Estee Lauder, Jafra Cosmetics, l’Oreal, Yves Rocher, Revlon, Proctor and Gamble, Mary Kay, and Jane & Co products including powder eye shadows, cream eye shadows, eye primers, and foundations (source). 


A paint-thinner that studies suggest can damage the nervous system and lead to neurological disorders such as dementia. Toluene is found in several nail products as well as some hair dyes (more information here)


Used in products such as foundation to protect against UV light. An article published in Dermatitis, states that benzophenones can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes and
even anaphylactic shock. Benzophenones are found in lip balms, foundation, nail polish, fragrances, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and baby sunscreens (more information here).


These chemicals are added to cosmetic products to prevent bacteria overgrowth. Parabens are potential endocrine disruptors and one study even found the presence of these chemicals in breast cancer tissue raising further concerns. Parabens are commonly used in perfumes and colognes, but can also be found in shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions (more information here)


A heavy metal present in a great number of makeup products, especially those with more pigment such as foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, and eyeliner. Lead is highly toxic when it entered the bloodstream and was found to cause neurological disorders, but also infertility and cancer. 
Lead is most commonly found in lip products including lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip liners. It is also found in hair dyes, mascaras, eyeshadows, blushes, and foundations. In the FDA lab study, lead was found in measurable or trace amounts in every product tested except for baby powder and most lotions (see the full results here)


A mineral used in powder makeup such as pressed powder foundation and blush but also in liquid foundation. The mineral was found to be often contaminated with asbestos which is a known carcinogen. There has been a large number of studies linking talc powder to ovarian cancer according to a review published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Talc is most famously found in baby powders, but it is also present in deodorants, feminine hygiene products, powdered eyeshadows and foundations, lipsticks and facemasks (more information here).


While most of these chemicals don’t come in amounts that would be scientifically proven to cause adverse health outcomes, chronic exposure to toxins from daily use of makeup may be a reason for concern as explained by Julia R. Barrett for Environmental Health Perspectives. 
If you want to protect your health and your good looks, I suggest that you use Melaleuca products. You can get more info by texting me 832 -766-2172 or check out this website: Follow a Greener Path.
If you want to stick with your current choices, at least read labels carefully and reduce the amount of makeup you use to protect your health.

This post was inspired by a fantastic article by Sophie Addison, a skincare expert. It has been fact-checked and edited by Soutanes..

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

There's No Place Like Home for Babies to Pick up Toxins

But research shows that babies pick up more than new skills as they explore their environments.
Infants may take in two to five times as much household dust as adults, even though they weigh only one-eighth as much, says Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Because of that dust, babies are more likely to be exposed to pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals inside the home than outside, he says.

Children younger than 2 are also more vulnerable to toxins than adults because they're still developing, Greene says. On average, children that age who are exposed to a carcinogen are 10 times more likely than an adult to develop cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

"It's a sound assumption that we should be 10 times more careful with children," Greene says.
Pediatrician Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, suggests parents open their windows to ventilate the air once a day, if weather permits. He notes that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, partly because of solvents and other chemicals found in paint, flooring, rugs, furniture and dry cleaning. It is important to Follow a Greener Path.

Yet toxic exposures often start long before babies can crawl. Babies today are typically born "pre-polluted," exposed to potential carcinogens even before birth, a report by the President's Cancer Panel said in May.
In a study of umbilical cord blood by the Environmental Working Group, researchers found 180 carcinogens in babies and 217 chemicals that were toxic to the brain or nervous system.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 6% of cancer deaths — nearly 34,000 a year — are caused by environmental pollutants.

Because so little research has been done on cancer and the environment, it's possible the true number of pollution-related cancer deaths is actually much higher, the President's Cancer Panel says.

GREENER CLEANING: Follow a Greener Path

Monday, August 1, 2016

We Want Lead Out Of Lipstick

Time to get the lead out? 
Time to get the lead out?
Is the amount of lead found in lipstick a health hazard?
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consortium of consumer and environmental groups, thinks so.

They've argued that there's no safe level for lead in lipsticks — especially for pregnant women and kids — and want the agency to do something to bring the amount of the metal down.

A trade group for cosmetics makers says lead isn't put in lipstick on purpose, but it sometimes contaminates raw ingredients.

There's no specific lead limit now for any cosmetics, though color additives used in them are capped at about 20 parts per million, the FDA says.

Note from Soutenus:

After reading the info above . . . are you shaking your head in dismay or steaming from the ears in frustration?  I am steaming.  This is just another of so many reasons I appreciate shopping with a company that puts health and safety first.
Frankly, I wonder why people would shop anywhere else. If my store has it, I buy it from them.  So, I do not have to worry about things like this . . . . but so many people are so blissfully, but dangerously, ignorant.

There's no specific lead limit now for any cosmetics.
The burning question for me is, "Why even allow lead in a product?!"  FDA what are you thinking?   I know many of us remember the lead in paint fiasco!  

My philosophy is, "Why not make smart simple changes?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child

Children suffer from life’s anxious moments, but navigating anxiety is an essential life skill that will serve them in the years to come. In the heat of the moment, try these simple phrases to help your children identify, accept, and work through their anxious moments.
1. “Can you draw it?”
Drawing, painting or doodling about an anxiety provides kids with an outlet for their feelings when they can’t use their words.
2.  “I love you. You are safe.”
Being told that you will be kept safe by the person you love the most is a powerful affirmation. Remember, anxiety makes your children feel as if their minds and bodys are in danger. Repeating they are safe can soothe the nervous system.
3. “Let’s pretend we’re blowing up a giant balloon. We’ll take a deep breath and blow it up to the count of 5.”
If you tell a child to take a deep breath in the middle of a panic attack, chances are you’ll hear, “I CAN’T!” Instead, make it a game. Pretend to blow up a balloon, making funny noises in the process. Taking three deep breaths and blowing them out will actually reverse the stress response in the body and may even get you a few giggles in the process.
4. “I will say something and I want you to say it exactly as I do: ‘I can do this.'” Do this 10 times at variable volume.
Marathon runners use this trick all of the time to get past “the wall.”
5. “Why do you think that is?”
This is especially helpful for older kids who can better articulate the “Why” in what they are feeling.
6. “What will happen next?”
If your children are anxious about an event, help them think through the event and identify what will come after it. Anxiety causes myopic vision, which makes life after the event seem to disappear.
7. “We are an unstoppable team.”
Separation is a powerful anxiety trigger for young children. Reassure them that you will work together, even if they can’t see you.
8. Have a battle cry: “I am a warrior!”; “I am unstoppable!”; or “Look out World, here I come!”
There is a reason why movies show people yelling before they go into battle. The physical act of yelling replaces fear with endorphins. It can also be fun.
9. “If how you feel was a monster, what would it look like?”
Giving anxiety a characterization means you take a confusing feeling and make it concrete and palpable. Once kids have a worry character, they can talk to their worry.
10. “I can’t wait until _____.”
Excitement about a future moment is contagious.
11.  “Let’s put your worry on the shelf while we _____ (listen to your favorite song, run around the block, read this story). Then we’ll pick it back up again.”
Those who are anxiety-prone often feel as though they have to carry their anxiety until whatever they are anxious about is over. This is especially difficult when your children are anxious about something they cannot change in the future. Setting it aside to do something fun can help put their worries into perspective.
12.  “This feeling will go away. Let’s get comfortable until it does.”
The act of getting comfortable calms the mind as well as the body. Weightier blankets have even been shown to reduce anxiety by increasing mild physical stimuli.
13. “Let’s learn more about it.”
Let your children explore their fears by asking as many questions as they need. After all, knowledge is power.
14. “Let’s count _____.”
This distraction technique requires no advance preparation. Counting the number of people wearing boots, the number of watches, the number of kids, or the number of hats in the room requires observation and thought, both of which detract from the anxiety your child is feeling.
15. “I need you to tell me when 2 minutes have gone by.”
Time is a powerful tool when children are anxious. By watching a clock or a watch for movement, a child has a focus point other than what is happening.
16. “Close your eyes. Picture this…”
Visualization is a powerful technique used to ease pain and anxiety. Guide your child through imagining a safe, warm, happy place where they feel comfortable. If they are listening intently, the physical symptoms of anxiety will dissipate.
17. “I get scared/nervous/anxious sometimes too. It’s no fun.”
Empathy wins in many, many situations. It may even strike up a conversation with your older child about how you overcame anxiety.
18. “Let’s pull out our calm-down checklist.”
Anxiety can hijack the logical brain; carry a checklist with coping skills your child has practiced. When the need presents itself, operate off of this checklist.
19. “You are not alone in how you feel.”
Pointing out all of the people who may share their fears and anxieties helps your child understand that overcoming anxiety is universal.
20. “Tell me the worst thing that could possibly happen.”
Once you’ve imagined the worst possible outcome of the worry, talk about the likelihood of that worst possible situation happening. Next, ask your child about the best possible outcome. Finally, ask them about the most likely outcome. The goal of this exercise is to help a child think more accurately during their anxious experience.
21. “Worrying is helpful, sometimes.”
This seems completely counter-intuitive to tell a child that is already anxious, but pointing out why anxiety is helpful reassures your children that there isn’t something wrong with them.
22. “What does your thought bubble say?”
If your children read comics, they are familiar with thought bubbles and how they move the story along. By talking about their thoughts as third-party observers, they can gain perspective on them.
23. “Let’s find some evidence.”
Collecting evidence to support or refute your child’s reasons for anxiety helps your children see if their worries are based on fact.
24. “Let’s have a debate.”
Older children especially love this exercise because they have permission to debate their parent. Have a point, counter-point style debate about the reasons for their anxiety. You may learn a lot about their reasoning in the process.
25. “What is the first piece we need to worry about?”
Anxiety often makes mountains out of molehills. One of the most important strategies for overcoming anxiety is to break the mountain back down into manageable chunks. In doing this, we realize the entire experience isn’t causing anxiety, just one or two parts.
26. “Let’s list all of the people you love.”
Anais Nin is credited with the quote, “Anxiety is love’s greatest killer.” If that statement is true, then love is anxiety’s greatest killer as well. By recalling all of the people that your child loves and why, love will replace anxiety.
27. “Remember when…”
Competence breeds confidence. Confidence quells anxiety. Helping your children recall a time when they overcame anxiety gives them feelings of competence and thereby confidence in their abilities.
28. “I am proud of you already.”
Knowing you are pleased with their efforts, regardless of the outcome, alleviates the need to do something perfectly – a source of stress for a lot of kids.
29. “We’re going for a walk.”
Exercise relieves anxiety for up to several hours as it burns excess energy, loosens tense muscles and boosts mood. If your children can’t take a walk right now, have them run in place, bounce on a yoga ball, jump rope or stretch.
30. “Let’s watch your thought pass by.”
Ask your children to pretend the anxious thought is a train that has stopped at the station above their head. In a few minutes, like all trains, the thought will move on to its next destination.
31. “I’m taking a deep breath.”
Model a calming strategy and encourage your child to mirror you. If your children allow you, hold them to your chest so they can feel your rhythmic breathing and regulate theirs.
32. “How can I help?”
Let your children guide the situation and tell you what calming strategy or tool they prefer in this situation.
33. “This feeling will pass.”
Often, children will feel like their anxiety is never-ending. Instead of shutting down, avoiding, or squashing the worry, remind them that relief is on the way.
34. “Let’s squeeze this stress ball together.”
When your children direct their anxiety to a stress ball, they feel emotional relief. Buy a ball, keep a handful of play dough nearby or make your own homemade stress ball by filling a balloon with flour or rice.
35. “I see Widdle is worried again. Let’s teach Widdle not to worry.”
Create a character to represent the worry, such as Widdle the Worrier. Tell your child that Widdle is worried and you need to teach him some coping skills.
36. “I know this is hard.”
Acknowledge that the situation is difficult. Your validation shows your children that you respect them.
37. “I have your smell buddy right here.”
A smell buddy, fragrance necklace or diffuser can calm anxiety, especially when you fill it with lavender, sage, chamomile, sandalwood or jasmine.
38. “Tell me about it.”
Without interrupting, listen to your children talk about what’s bothering them. Talking it out can give your children time to process their thoughts and come up with a solution that works for them.
39. “You are so brave!”
Affirm your children’s ability to handle the situation, and you empower them to succeed this time.
40. “Which calming strategy do you want to use right now?”
Because each anxious situation is different, give your children the opportunity to choose the calming strategy they want to use.
41. “We’ll get through this together.”
Supporting your children with your presence and commitment can empower them to persevere until the scary situation is over.
42. “What else do you know about (scary thing)?”
When your children face a consistent anxiety, research it when they are calm. Read books about the scary thing and learn as much as possible about it. When the anxiety surfaces again, ask your children to recall what they’ve learned. This step removes power from the scary thing and empowers your child.
43. “Let’s go to your happy place.”
Visualization is an effective tool against anxiety. When your children are calm, practice this calming strategy until they are able to use it successfully during anxious moments.
44. “What do you need from me?”
Ask your children to tell you what they need. It could be a hug, space or a solution.
45. “If you gave your­­ feeling a color, what would it be?”
Asking another person to identify what they’re feeling in the midst of anxiety is nearly impossible. But asking your children to give how they feel with a color, gives them a chance to think about how they feel relative to something simple. Follow up by asking why their feeling is that color.
46. “Let me hold you.”
Give your children a front hug, a hug from behind, or let them sit on your lap. The physical contact provides a chance for your child to relax and feel safe.
47. “Remember when you made it through XYZ?”
Reminding your child of a past success will encourage them to persevere in this situation.
48. “Help me move this wall.”
Hard work, like pushing on a wall, relieves tension and emotions. Resistance bands also work.
49. “Let’s write a new story.”
Your children have written a story in their mind about how the future is going to turn out. This future makes them feel anxious. Accept their story and then ask them to come up with a few more plot lines where the story’s ending is different.
Like these phrases? Get these plus 23 more in a beautiful, free ebook: 72 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child